COMMENTARY

September/October 2003 -- Finding Your Way Around Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health

Ursula Snyder, PhD

Disclosures

October 01, 2003

Introduction

I'd like to use this issue of my column to take you on a guided tour of the Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Web site. Many readers who receive the Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health weekly newsletter, MedPulse, visit the site indirectly by linking to the new articles and news stories each week. In fact, many believe that the newsletter is Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health. But there is indeed a distinct Web site, and the home page is $$www$$/womenshealthhome. This is the page that will lead you to all of the features of the Ob/Gyn & Women's Health site as well as to the many other Medscape Medical Specialty and Professional sites.

Let's start at the top of the page, where we welcome you. You will notice that on the left side of the screen, immediately following your name, is a link that says [Edit Your Profile]. Here you can edit your basic profile and professional information; select a Medscape Specialty Site home page to use as your home base for navigation (and you can change this at any time); review your CME tracker, which automatically logs any Medscape CME and CE activities completed online; and subscribe or unsubscribe to any Medscape newsletter (eg, the Medscape Specialty Site weekly newsletter, MedPulse; Medscape Special Reports, daily news updates; and more). You can also set up your own physician Web site.

If you return to the home page, and move further to the right, you will see a box that reads "Other Specialty Homepages." The drop-down menu provides links to 28 specialty sites as well as professional sites and our international home pages and information centers.

To the far right is a most important little blue/gray box, which features our Search and Browse functions. The Search function is straightforward. Below the word "Browse" is the link Recently Posted Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Content. This link takes you to a continuously updated archive of all the content posted on the Ob/Gyn & Women's Health site. It can be a bit overwhelming, but we use other functions on the site to organize this material. For example, when you do clink on the link, in addition to the long list of recently posted content there is a blue box "Feature Archives," that links to the regular features of the site. All the material in this box except news is Medscape original content, ie, developed by Medscape authors and editors.

The "News" link contains Medscape Medical News and Reuters Health Information. These stories are posted daily, and they are also featured on the home page itself. You will see that you can get news that is of particular relevance to Ob/Gyn & Women's Health, but you can also read the news stories from a given day for all of the specialty sites. A point of note is that we archive Medscape Medical News indefinitely, but the Reuters stories are maintained on the site for only 30 days.

The next link is "Ask the Experts." Clicking on that link takes you to a page that hosts questions from clinicians and responses from experts on matters of interest to OB/GYNs and primary care physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants with female patients. This page also hosts our discussion forums, where physicians can discuss any professional issue of interest to them. Physicians can also discuss nonclinical issues with their colleagues. Note that Medscape Specialty discussion forums are limited to registered physicians.

Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health currently has 2 of the features we call Journal Scans. As the name suggests, Journal Scans contain summaries of some notable recently published studies along with critical commentaries by a Medscape author. The Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal Scan features commentaries by Dr. Ron Cyr that provide a historical as well as practical context in which to consider results and conclusions. By the way, we are looking for an additional contributor to this Journal Scan, so if you are a practicing physician in private practice or academia who enjoys analyzing new studies in obstetrics and gynecology, please contact me at usnyder@webmd.net. The second Journal Scan we offer is the Reproductive Endocrinology Journal Scan The studies reviewed by our board member, Dr. Peter Kovacs, focus heavily on infertility and assisted reproduction technology, menopause, and polycystic ovarian syndrome, as well as hormonal agents for contraception and conditions associated with menopause.

Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health also has 4 columns that are archived in the blue box. The first listed is Ob/Gyn Practice Today. This is a monthly news-oriented column written by veteran medical writer Kate Johnson. The stories are based on studies, new guidelines, and topical clinical issues and interviews with key researchers and experts. Our most recent issue, for example, discusses exercise and pregnancy on the occasion of the new guideline, "Exercise in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period," released by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. Kate interviewed a Canadian and an American physician for this piece. Our board member, Dr. Peter S. Bernstein, and his colleagues contribute a column relating to topical issues in maternal fetal medicine, "Field Notes in Obstetrics and Maternal Fetal Medicine," which is posted quarterly. The upcoming issue will consider the interesting concept of group prenatal care. Lawyer and health policy writer Gwen Mayes contributes the column "Beyond The Examining Room," which focuses on medico-legal and ethical issues. The issue just posted considers the concept of legislating cord blood banks. Last on this list is the "From the Editor" column. This bimonthly column from yours truly has a variable focus; but one way or another each issue highlights content we have on the site in a unique way while addressing a topic that is relevant to women's health.

Before we return to the home page, take note of the box, "Browse the Content of Other Specialties," at the top of the Recently Posted Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Content page. A click will take you to similarly organized pages of the other Medscape Specialty sites.

Let's return to the home page. The next section, under your name, is the "In Focus" section. Twice a week, some of the recently posted content from Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health, other Medscape Specialty sites, and our Publishers' Circle Partners is highlighted. This section also brings your attention to several of our Medscape Resource Centers, which provide collected information on diseases and conditions. Directly below the featured Resource Centers is the callout "Discuss the Latest Hot Topic," which takes physicians to one of the many Medscape discussion forums that they can participate in. Below this are more selections of recently posted content.

To the right of the "In Focus" section is "Today's Ob/Gyn and Women's Health News," which is updated several times each day. Also, you will note that we are now offering CME based on select news stories. This is an interesting way to keep up-to-date and add credits, and these pieces are not commercially supported.

You can see a list of all the CME news stories at our CME Center, which brings us to the next section on the home page.

The CME Center and the CME Tracker sections of Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health are where you can find the latest CME programs that we offer. All of the CME programs on Medscape are free. Most of Medscape's CME activities are commercially supported. The CME section is split into "Medscape Professional Education," which offers programs we call Clinical Updates that are developed by Medscape editors, and Medscape CME Circle, which features programs that are developed by outside medical education companies. We do not control the content of CME Circle; our purpose is as host for this portion of our content. We do bear responsibility for Medscape Professional Education, and although it is commercially supported, our modus operandi is to produce content that is truly educational, fair-balanced, and not promotional. I would also like to add that we are working to bring you more non-commercially supported CME, and I hope to deliver 2 article-based programs this year-- one on domestic violence and one on genital warts.

The next section of the home page features more Resource Centers that we hope are of particular interest to clinicians with female patients (you can view the entire list by clicking on the "more" button) and Medscape Discussion Forums and Ask the Experts, which we discussed above. You can also participate in the biweekly poll that is featured in this section.

Below the Resource Centers is section called Conference Coverage. This is where you can find conference reports and collections of topic-based summaries of presentations from conferences in the United States and around the world. The most recent posting is a report from our board member, Dr. Victoria Handa, on this year's meeting of the American Urogynecological Society. Clicking on the "more" button takes you to the index page for all our conference coverage. Something else to note is that numerous conferences we cover are developed as CME programs. The next conference coverage CME program that Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health will develop will be based on the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

To the far right of the sections I've just reviewed is a panel that lists the board members of Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health. We have a distinguished board, and we invite you to find out more about them by clicking on their names.

We're getting to the bottom of the page. There you will find a "Quote of the Week," which is excerpted from anywhere on the Web and relates to women's health or social issues that might be of interest to clinicians. Below that is the Library, which features journals from our Publishers' Circle® partners. If you click on the "more" button, you'll find a complete list of our journals as well as links to other clinical references, links to societies and organizations that you might be interested in, and some suggestions for reading.

Before this tour ends, we must go back to the home page and just take a look at the tabs on the top of the page. Now you know what most of them refer to, but let me just mention 3 of the tabs that we haven't discussed. The first is simply a link to Medscape Today This is essentially the home page of all Medscape home pages. It's for those who would like a broad view of the kinds of content Medscape posts daily. The next tab takes you to Medscape's flagship general medical journal, Medscape General Medicine ™, or MedGenMed for short. MedGenMed is a fully electronic, MEDLINE-indexed, primary-source, peer-reviewed, Web-based, general medical journal. As part of Medscape, MedGenMed has the potential to reach more than 800,000 physicians and more than 3 million other healthcare professionals in 249 countries, plus millions of consumers. Access to MedGenMed is free to all, following registration, wherever there is a Web connection. Find out more about this historic publication and read about our peer review process. MedGenMed also has specialty sections, and I would like to point out the Ob/Gyn & Women's Health Section particularly and encourage readers to submit original research, topic reviews, and commentaries to me at usnyder@webmd.net. Finally, the last tab links to WebMD® Scientific American® Medicine. This is a subscriber-based publication, and we invite you to take a look at what it offers by sampling some of the content.

I hope this tour makes navigating Medscape just a little easier. Of course, if you are looking for something specific, just use the search function! If you want to get lost in the content, by all means enjoy! And if you have any questions, please contact me at womenshealtheditor@webmd.net.

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